What is the referendum?

  • The statement called for an advisory body, called 'the Voice', to consult and give advice to parliament on policy matters that affect Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, such as health, education and social and economic disadvantages.
  • The Government has proposed a draft referendum question – 'Do you support an alteration to the Constitution that establishes an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice?'
  • The Government has signalled this referendum and vote will take place in late 2023.

What is needed to win a referendum?

  • A referendum is only passed if it is approved by a majority of voters across the country and a majority of voters in a majority of states—this is known as a double majority. Voters in the ACT and Northern Territory are only counted in the national majority.

How will the referendum run?

  • The referendum will run just like an election, all across the country people will head to the polls on the same day. Normally the government would fund the yes and no campaigns but this referendum the government has decided no public money will go into the campaigns.

What is GetUp's position?

  • Our team will never sign up to symbolism and constitutional recognition, a path that has been heavily rejected by our communities. We support a referendum that goes beyond symbolic gestures and creates space for ambitious change.
  • It's a once in a generation opportunity to talk about First Nations Justice and the things our communities have been calling for like treaty, truth telling and self determination.
  • GetUp has huge concerns that in some communities people haven't even heard about the Referendum or don't understand how it will work and the impact it will have on them.

What is GetUp's take on the split in support in First Nations communities for a Voice?

  • Just like every community, First Nations people have a range of different political views and all of those views need to be respected.
  • The media and political commentators have an important role to play to ensure there are no attacks on black voices and cover the Referendum in a culturally safe way.
  • GetUp have had countless conversations with mob about concerns they have about the referendum. There are a range of views across the political spectrum, including concerns that this will just be a symbolic gesture that won't create change, no faith in a political system that has failed for so long and that this referendum won't lead to treaty and truth telling.
  • In some communities, people haven't even heard about the referendum or don't understand how it will work and the impact it will have on them. It is concerning that many of our communities cannot partake in this national dialogue because there is no consultation, let alone consultation in their languages to understand and be part of the process.